The Red Planet has become a place of interest for several space agencies from all over the world who are working on several projects related to the planet. One of the most ambitious goals is to reach the planet with a crewed ship and establish a colony.
Realistically, a crewed mission to Mars won’t take place in the following years. However, as technology continues to advance, researchers have started to think about strategies that could be employed to rich Mars in the future. One of the newest ideas involves a visit to a different planet
A new paper created by a team of scientists argues that Venus could be used as a secondary objective, which can provide valuable opportunities. For example, the initial trip to Venus would allow astronauts to familiarize themselves with the spacecraft while also offering the option to return to Earth if something went wrong.
According to the team, an initial flyby by Venus would also grant the chance to learn more about Venus, as scientists can gather information about two planets during a single mission, and it would save a significant amount of funds in the process.
There are two ways to reach Mars. The first one involves the need to wait 26 months for Earth and Mars to align to perform the trip towards the planet and another 26 months for the return, which means that astronauts would have to spend at least 18 months on Mars.
Astronauts can also use Venus for a slingshot effect to propel the spacecraft towards Mars, a choice that could reduce the fuel requirement for the trip by a significant amount. By using this method, trips could be made once every 19 months, facilitating stays as short as one month.
Scientists also believe that they explore Venus in-depth as the proximity to Venus would allow astronauts to take direct control of rovers and aircraft that could roam the planet.